Chefs to Watch 2016: Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta

Danny Bonvissuto

Ryan Smith was 15 when he learned the most important thing he’d ever know about food: It can be used to help others. “One of my high school teachers, Ray Williams, started a youth cooking club called Ray of Hope that helped teenagers stay out of trouble,” Smith says. “He had such a positive energy and felt connecting people with food was a powerful tool.”

Through the program, Smith, who grew up on a steady...